Kari Lake will be the keynote speaker at the Georgia Republican Party (GAGOP)’s annual convention, replacing Mike Pence who was originally scheduled. Former President Donald Trump will also be speaking at the convention. The state party Chair David Shafer sent an email to delegates stating that Pence canceled “because of a televised national town hall at which he will be making an announcement regarding his future plans.”
An insider told The Arizona Sun Times that the GAGOP received numerous complaints after Pence was announced as the speaker, with some who had already purchased tickets demanding refunds. Tickets sold out just a few hours after Lake (pictured above) was announced. Last year, about 400 tickets were sold, the insider said, whereas 900 rushed to buy them after finding Lake was the speaker. The insider said there were concerns that if Pence showed up, he would be booed loudly.
Lake is scheduled to speak on the first day of the two-day convention on June 9.
Colton Duncan, a staffer with the Lake campaign, similarly said Pence’s campaign team was concerned he would be booed.
OH NO! Mike Pence pulled out of the Georgia GOP Convention last minute because his team was “worried he would be boo’d off stage”
— Colton Duncan (@duncan_colton) May 31, 2023
Although Pence cited the town hall as a conflict, it takes place two days before the GAGOP convention begins. Pence is scheduled to appear on a CNN town hall on June 7 at Grand View University in Des Moines. He has hinted about running for president, and is expected to announce his plans next week.
Pence angered the conservative base on January 6 when he refused as vice president to reject electoral votes from states like Arizona that they believed really went for Trump, not Joe Biden. Pence has been heavily critical of Trump since January 6, stating that it was “un-American” for Trump to suggest that he reject the electoral votes. John Eastman, considered one of the foremost legal scholars in the country and one of the most respected Federalist Society members, provided advice to Trump and Pence immediately prior to January 6 stating that rejecting the electoral votes from the contested states was one of several possible legal and constitutional options.
Pence was booed in his home state of Indiana in April as he spoke to the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting there. When Trump spoke to the group later that day, he brought up Pence’s name and the crowd booed again.
A Rasmussen Reports survey of possible Republican presidential candidates found Pence with only 6 percent support. Trump was far in the lead with 62 percent, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 17 percent, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley at 5 percent, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at 3 percent, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy at 2 percent.
The high-profile event, which is being held in Columbus, will also feature announced presidential candidates Ramaswamy and Hutchinson.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who has come under fire for his lack of concern about election integrity, will not be attending the convention due to a rift with the state party. He was booed at the 2021 convention for 30 seconds straight, according to news reports. Kemp refused to assist Trump when Trump called him asking for help looking into whether there was election fraud. Trump endorsed his primary challenger in 2022, David Perdue.
Lake announced at a rally on Wednesday that she has filed a Notice of Appeal from the latest dismissal of her election contest lawsuit over the gubernatorial race. She is also considering running for U.S. Senate.
The Sun Times asked the GAGOP for comment but did not receive a response by the time this article went to publication.
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